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Kenny, Enda

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

I would not believe all that I read in the newspapers.More Button

The Deputy's acceptance of newspaper reports as the truth is far removed from reality.More Button

The position is that a number of weeks before the budget was presented by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Martin and others put forward the proposition that the old age pension was going to be cut...More Button

-----that the travel allowance was going to be cut, that the electricity allowance was going to be cut-----More Button

-----and that the half-rate carer's allowance and the bereavement grant were going to go.More Button

This budget is not about any particular party; it is about our people and our country.More Button

The mess that was left for us to clean up requires difficult decisions that have an impact on people's lives. Nobody denies that, but the point is that we have to make choices in a situation like ...More Button

I understand from speaking to carers that this is difficult. The point, however, is that the carer's package and the carer's allowance have been protected because we value what the carers themse...More Button

The carer's package and the home care package have been untouched. The carer's allowance is untouched. The question of the half-rate carer's allowance is untouched. The respite grant has been ...More Button

The Deputy could refer his words to his own actions, with his inarticulate drivel and his untruthful and hypocritical comments about the property tax, which he signed up to but does not want introd...More Button

As I pointed out, the carer's strategy was agreed and published by the Minister of State at the Department of Health in conformity with what the carers themselves expressed as the principal issues.More Button

The estimated expenditure in 2012 on carers is more than €771 million, with €509 million being spent on carer's allowance, €24 million on carer's benefit, €135 million on the respite care grant and...More Button

I do not accept the Deputy's question about unpicking elements of the budget. His attack on the Labour Party is utterly hypocritical and opportunistic. He is under pressure from his colleagues on...More Button

He chose to pick on the Labour Party.More Button

The budget presented by the Minister for Finance is not about the Fine Gael Party or the Labour Party; rather, it is about Ireland and its people.More Button

It is about the Government having the conviction and the courage to clean up the inordinate mess left behind by the most incompetent, out of touch, arrogant Government of the past 50 years.More Button

We will do this, taking into account the circumstances in which so many find themselves. People all over the country say to me that they know difficult decisions must be made in the interests of a...More Button

I would love to be able to say to the Deputy that instead of cuts in this area, the reverse will happen, but that is not the case. The budget is about freeing the economy and opportunities for the...More Button

It ill behoves the Deputy to attack the Labour Party, in particular, as if the budget belongs to it.More Button

The budget is about the people and the country. We will stand over it and attempt to implement these decisions with care, compassion and consideration and in the best way possible.More Button

We have protected the majority of allowances paid under the social protection code. I have given details of the increased figure of €20 million and indicated where it will be spent next year.More Button

I was in Phibsboro last Saturday with Deputy Paschal Donohoe when I met some of Deputy Gerry Adams's supporters on the street who were handing out leaflets attacking the Labour Party, but these sup...More Button

 Deputy Gerry Adams knows very little about taxation matters if he makes a comment like the one he has just made. However, I will not go back over history to hear the Deputy expound on...More Button

I meet carers from all over the country. I know the pressure and stress they are under. I know the pressure and stress many in mortgage distress and negative equity are under. I know the difficu...More Button

The Government must attempt to deal with all of these circumstances and problems. There is no easy solution to the range of problems the Government faces. With respect to all of those who went be...More Button

Deputy Gerry Adams has made the charge; he should now cut out the waffle and engage in some straight talking. Perhaps some day he might tell the truth about the tragedy, the remorse and the compas...More Button

Maybe Deputy Gerry Adams might do that some time.More Button

The mandate given to this Government comprised of two parties, the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party, is to deal with the problem that our country faces. That problem is that our finances were ...More Button

Let me repeat the facts. The Deputy and others, prior to this budget, were out on the streets, as they are perfectly entitled to do, saying that all of these allowances would be decimated, savaged...More Button

Creating employment is the focus when I meet my colleagues at the European Council, when we speak of the fact that unemployment among young people is at 58% in Greece, 50% in Spain and 29% here, ...More Button

What the Minister for Finance did in this budget was place a deliberate focus on jobs and job opportunities. The vast majority of hard-pressed, middle-income families and those who are out of wo...More Button

The Deputy seems to have forgotten that this is the first Government to have appointed a senior Cabinet Minister to deal with children and youth affairs. He conveniently forgets, for instance, tha...More Button

This was a budget about the people and our country and central to that, whether the Deputy likes it or not, is that we must prioritise job opportunities and the facilities for work and employment...More Button

Official Engagements

Was asked: the number of non-party political events which he has attended in each month during 2012 which have been handled by the protocol section of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: the role of the protocol section of his Department in organising non-party political events.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.

  The table sets out the information sought by the Deputy up to the end of November 2012. It has been the long-standing practi...More Button

Official Engagements (Continued)

I am not sure what the Deputy is getting at. I do not recall meeting the Society of the Irish Motor Industry for photographs. The table I have details 251 engagements, from January to the end of ...More Button

In November, for example, I opened the new UCD student centre; attended the European Parliament conference of presidents of the EU; had an EPP meeting in Government Buildings; launched an event cel...More Button

As to anything I might have time to attend in my constituency, the protocol section of the Department of the Taoiseach does not involve itself in anything of a local political nature, nor does it...More Button

I will. The impediment is time. I commit to meeting the Justice for the Forgotten group. I have a number of groups to meet and have no difficulty with this one. I hope we may be able to do this...More Button

I like to think we can meet as many groups as is possible. As I observed to Deputy Martin, we will make arrangements to meet the Justice for the Forgotten group. If there are particular issues th...More Button

Social Partnership

Was asked: if he will provide an update on his process of social dialogue.More Button

Was asked: the groups he has met as part of his process of social dialogue.More Button

Was asked: the progress there has been on his plan to abolish the National Economic and Social Development Office and place the National Economic and Social Council on a statutory basis; and if he will make a...More Button

Was asked: if he has met the social partners recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans regarding the future of the National Economic and Social Council.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on any recent or planned meeting with social partners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on any recent or planned social dialogue with civil society groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a list of the groups he plans to meet as part of his commitment to social dialogue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 3 to 7, inclusive, and 111 to 113, inclusive, together.More Button

As I have stated previously, although the Government does not intend to return to the rigid social partnership structures of the past we do recognise the contribution that social dialogue can mak...More Button

In addition, I meet with many relevant groups during the course of my work. For example, since I last replied to this question on 10 July, I met the Irish Exporters Association on 18 July; the d...More Button

Multilateral engagement between sectors and the Government also takes place through the National Economic and Social Council, which comes within the remit of my Department. The council has an ex...More Button

Last July the Government agreed to the recommendations of a review of the National Economic and Social Council and the National Economic and Social Development Office, undertaken by my Department...More Button

Social Partnership (Continued)

As the Deputy is aware, the NESC reports directly to the Department of the Taoiseach in respect of the efficient development of the economy and the achievement of social justice. It also provides ...More Button

The NESC has provided successive Governments with excellent research and analysis on economic and social issues of significant national importance. In 2011, the Government requested the NESC's s...More Button

Will the NESC continue to function as an important entity? Yes, it will. The Government accepted the key finding of the review to the effect that the NESC still has a valuable role to play. Wo...More Button

The objective of the changes arising from the review carried out in respect of the NESC is hopefully to assist it in having flexibility in fulfilling its key role. The review highlighted rigidit...More Button

The Deputy referred to the Croke Park agreement. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was mandated by the Government to meet the trade unions in order to discuss the evolution of the a...More Button

Is the Government committed to the Croke Park agreement? It is clear that the savings to be obtained under the agreement must be accelerated and enhanced. They must also be discussed in conside...More Button

I wish to provide some examples of the reforms that have taken place. The establishment of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which is dedicated to reducing public expenditure to m...More Button

Significant sick leave reforms have been introduced in the public service. A new Government economic and evaluation service has been established. Greater transparency is available through freedom...More Button

I do not accept that view. Ministers, Ministers of State and chairpersons of the relevant Oireachtas committees have open access to groups, organisations and individuals from all over the country....More Button

Deputy Martin's point about engaging with groups and organisations is relevant. I remind the Deputy that when his party was in Government we had an endless conveyor belt of money. However, desp...More Button

The pension for the blind was cut twice and the Christmas bonus was abolished. That was against the background of the interaction in question and a flood of money that had never been seen before i...More Button

I am not blaming the Deputy.More Button

The decisions were taken by the previous Government. It is a case of determining how best to avail of the opportunity to engage with and listen to people. The responsibility of the Government is ...More Button

I have tried to achieve the best impact from the Cabinet sub-committees I chair in order that their members will have timelines in regard to the priorities with which we must deal. The members m...More Button

The Deputy and I know that circumstances are far from being right in a number of areas. We must and will rectify this. That is why I say to Ministers and public servants directly that we need i...More Button

In the context of preparing for the EU Presidency and dealing with the economic problems the country faces, a great deal of time is taken up in dealing with the serious challenges that arise. Fr...More Button

I would like to believe that the Freedom of Information Act actually works and that it has been extended to so many areas is in the interests of citizens and public representatives alike. We wil...More Button

With regard to the process of engagement which involves the Minister of State, Deputy John Perry, so many businesses are indicating what the Government needs to do. I cannot allow circumstances ...More Button

I noted the Deputy's comment on engagement with outside bodies. He is incorrect to state the Clearing House Group includes speculators. Perhaps he would like to expand on this when he asks me his...More Button

The Clearing House Group is not chaired by the Department of Finance but by the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach for very good reason.More Button

This is in order that we can have a very clear understanding of what these employers of thousands say about the state of the economy and Ireland's position on European and eurozone difficulties, et...More Button

The Government has taken the view, although not on account of interaction with a particular group, that while there is stamp duty on financial transactions, it would not favour a financial transa...More Button

I do not accept the Deputy's contention that there has been no interaction with low-paid workers, the less well-off, the disabled, the vulnerable and the isolated and that we do not take into acc...More Button

I outlined already to the Deputy the fact that the social protection facilities for pensioners and those in the social protection area remain untouched, despite the fact that some commentators and ...More Button

I also point out to the Deputy that those whom he calls "super-wealthy" are the people who can afford to pay more and they are being hit with a bill of more than €500 million extra. That is a cl...More Button

-----change direction, employ more people and provide jobs for those people to whom the Deputy referred.More Button

As I said to the Deputy, the voluntary sector contributes an enormous unpaid value to the State. This is evident, as the Deputy is well aware, across every town and parish in the country every wee...More Button

It is not the case that I only meet the movers and shakers, as the Deputy calls them. I meet members of chambers of commerce around the country and the agricultural sector, which is still the la...More Button

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has set out his targets in dealing with the trade unions. When I met the Minister and the implementation group, our view was that we have recognise...More Button

I will be a little quicker if Deputy Martin wants.

  The Economic Management Council is a very effective method of streamlining positions in this case. We do not want to have en...More Button

The Minister for Social Protection has had detailed meetings and discussions with the organisations and groups who deal with those in receipt of special protection. She can also give detailed acco...More Button

Pharmacists have rung me up to tell me it was about time somebody did something about prescription charges because of the level of over-prescribing that takes place. The Minister for Health and ...More Button

While some of this is warranted, there are also trends which should be identified. This is an impact upon the charges and the cap that applies thereof.

  I hope that for 2013 th...More Button

-----we will have a much earlier discussion in the House about overall figures.More Button

The Deputy comes in here all the time claiming he, of course, could change this.More Button

This goes back to the Deputy's business of how he signed on for a property tax, he designed it but he does not want it yet as it is not the right time to introduce it.More Button

This is what the Deputy has been at.More Button

Deputy Martin signed on for the property tax, he put it into the memorandum of understanding with the troika and suddenly he does not want it. He is now telling me these measures are easy to redes...More Button

There are difficult decisions to be made. I recognise that, as does everyone else, but they have to be done in the interests of the country.More Button

I had no intention of making defamatory remarks about anyone. My comments were made in the context of the raw emotion that Deputy Adams referred to.More Button

Of course Deputy Adams has a legitimate mandate to be here but I made my comments in respect of what he was saying.More Button

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 14, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations 2012; No. 15, motion re referral to sele...More Button

The Dáil sits until 11.15 p.m. tomorrow night and until 2 p.m. on Thursday to deal with the Social Welfare Bill. It has to go to the Seanad next week in order that the changed rates of unemploymen...More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

I am conscious of the fact-----More Button

I should remind the House that there will be a court case about this matter in January.More Button

The Government is carefully studying the Supreme Court judgment which clarifies how it can make information available to the electorate during a referendum. The judgment in the McKenna cases state...More Button

The court has unanimously acknowledged that the principle enunciated in the McKenna judgment stands as firm as ever, but that the methods by which information is conveyed are very different from th...More Button

In respect of the stability treaty - the Lisbon treaty - when Deputy Micheál Martin was Minister for Foreign Affairs he sent his own document which indicated that it had been produced by the Depa...More Button

What he sent on the Lisbon treaty in 2009-----More Button

Do not come out with that one.More Button

I am not sure how we might arrange this. I spoke to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Nicholas Clegg, about the matter in Oslo yesterday. The Prime Minister is to make a statement to the House of Co...More Button

I will have to attend a European Council meeting in Brussels to deal with other matters. I will see what the Whips can arrange, even if it is for a short period.More Button

Tributes to Staff Member

Sitting in the Chamber is Mr. Barry Whelan, a quintessential Dub from Drimnagh who is retiring today from his position as usher. Barry has given good service in the 21 years since 1992. On behalf...More Button

Constitutional Convention

Was asked: the expected cost of the Constitutional Convention to take place this year and next year.More Button

The 2012 estimate for the Constitutional Convention is €300,000 and expenditure up to end November 2012 was €140,390. The estimate for 2013 is €948,000.More Button

Public Services Provision

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 237 of 4 December 2012, if he will provide a list of all new services across his Department that have been tested for external service delivery since March 2011.More Button

The focus of my Department is to ensure that Government policy is progressed across the whole of Government and it has one key programme which is to support me as Taoiseach and the Government. As ...More Button

My Department makes extensive use of shared services in the areas of payroll, finance, IT, library and security services as well as participating in civil service wide initiatives such as the HR ...More Button

Departmental Strategy Statements

Was asked: the way he is monitoring progress on his Department's strategic priorities as set out in his Department's strategy statement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The focus of my Department is to ensure that Government policy is progressed across the whole of Government and it has one key Programme which is to support the Taoiseach and the Government. The D...More Button

  Questions Nos. 111 to 113, inclusive, answered with Question No. 3.More Button